Predators and scavengers pick up eggcam

I don’t think the inventors of this eggcam intended it to be used this way.  It was, I presume, meant to mimic a rockhopper penguin egg and thereby help film the colony without disturbing it. But they didn’t count on a hungry striated caracara and a vulture. . .

It’s from the BBC show “Penguins: spy in the huddle,” and has the first aerial footage of a penguin colony filmed by a flying bird.

h/t: Gattina

26 Comments

  1. Mary Canada
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    That was amazing aerial shot

  2. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Penguin paparazzi don’t deserve any better treatment.
    ;)

  3. Marella
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    That caracara must have been thinking that this was the toughest egg it had ever encountered. I am impressed that it was still working after all that.

  4. gluonspring
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    +1

    Wish there were a like button to like these great posts that we don’t have many comments for.

  5. Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Incredible! Wonderful! Thanks!

  6. Pete Moulton
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    The narrator says the eggcam slipped from the caracara’s grasp, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if the caracara purposely dropped it on the rocks to break the shell, a la the Lammergeier with bones, or the American herring gull with molluscs.

    • Dominic
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:36 am | Permalink

      Or Chrysippus, the eagle & the tortoise!

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        Thinking of Aeschylus? I don’t think Chrysippus has been covered by Horrible Histories‘ ‘Stupid Deaths‘ yet.

    • Stephen P
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink

      I showed the film to my 11 year old daughter, and right at the beginning she predicted that the caracara would try to break the egg by dropping it!

      • Posted February 25, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        That’s a clever kid you got there. :-)

  7. Allen
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Any egg I drop from a lower height always breaks. So do most electronic devices.

  8. Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    So why do eggs roll so readily? Wouldn’t it be a survival advantage to have flats on the sides that made them stop? The mothers’ comfort isn’t a consideration, surely?

    • bacopa
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      No, but the mother’s survival is.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      Most bird eggs need to be turned, usually by the hen, during incubation, so that the chick develops properly. Flat-sided eggs would make that difficult.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        Flat-sided eggs would make that digital.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Quite a number of birds eggs, gulls in particular, are sufficiently “pointed” that, when laid on a reasonably flat cliff ledge, they’ll roll around in a confined space, rather than rolling off the edge.
      when necessary (flat nests, big drops), evolution has clearly culled the unsuccessful variants, leaving eggs which are just as “rolly” as they need to be.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I hadn’t realized that, but the minute one hears it it makes perfect sense and explains a lot about bird eggs. And also, I’d think, about why reptile eggs have remained so symmetrical.

    • Nitpicker
      Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      In fact, many cliff-nesting birds do have partially flattened or irregularly shaped (strongly conical) eggs to prevent them from falling off, e.g. murres. The “idea” behind the “design” is that if it rolls it will rotate in place.

  9. Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Surely birds have been used to carry cameras long before now? And small radio-transmitting digial movie cameras will have been around for a year or two…?

  10. David Duncan
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    I assume the egg cam inventors knew what happened and just hoped for the best. Skuas routinely nest near penguins to steel eggs and chicks. And sometimes the penguins mount a preemptive attack on the skua colony.

  11. Dominic
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    Thankyou! That started my Monday morning with laughter!

  12. Achrachno
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Why an egg cam? To film while under a sitting penguin? A rockcam would have been more inconspicuous and not subject to this sort of problem.

    • Chris
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Not sure if you saw any of the other footage, but they actually built robot penguins with cameras too… that were treated by the other birds as if they were real. Some very clever filming!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        I’m recording the series, planning an orgy of “Penguin-cam” one evening.
        I anticipate that at one point their penguin-cam will start filming the interior of a (leopard seal || great white shark) ; and that the camera designers have anticipated this, made the cameras sufficiently corrosion-proof, buoyant, and radio-findable to produce the desired footage.
        Voice-over of (the camera) being eaten by a shark by Rodney_Fox?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Awww, only 3 episodes, all broadcast already. Well, I know what I’m doing tomorrow then!

  13. Dave
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    What hoot. Duly forwarded.


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